Dancing her way through life: It’s all about dance, good food, and good stewardship for Naina Ummat  

At any dance performance, audience members sit back and enjoy a dazzling show. What they don’t see are the folks behind the scenes who string together all of the steps that bring the dance to life.  

At ReCollect, Onboarding Support Engineer Naina Ummat is a bit of a choreographer: She strings together everything municipalities need out of ReCollect’s digital tools and brings them to life so residents may recycle right.

Naina was born in India, and she moved to Canada in 2004. Driven by environmental issues and sustainability, Naina earned a Master’s Degree in Resource and Environmental Management from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.

After graduation, Naina stuck around and worked in customer support for Colchester County Solid Waste. There, she donned her first pair of steel-toe boots and executed numerous audits of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) and more. She also completed other work to ensure that the county was recycling properly.

When she moved to Halifax, she saw that they utilized digital tools from ReCollect. When a position opened with the organization, she knew she had to apply. She said she was very excited to peek behind the curtain and tinker with the tools that helped so many municipalities realize an impact on the environment.

At ReCollect, Naina helps customers onboard by setting up digital tools, including ReCollect’s Waste Wizard, which helps teach people how to recycle right. She also occasionally helps with the setup of the Collection Calendar tool, which helps people remember collection day, utilizing easy-to-understand notifications like text messages.

Because every municipality recycles and handles waste differently, she helps new customers fill out comprehensive forms that offer insight into drop-off depots, household hazardous waste disposal, how various materials are handled, and more.

From there, Naina gathers the information and builds it into Waste Wizards and Collection Calendars for customers, conveying to residents everything they need to know about solid waste and recycling collection in concise, convenient and easy-to-navigate digital platforms.

While Naina has only been with ReCollect for about a year, she has built about 50 Waste Wizards so far. It’s a lot of work, she said, but it’s worth it; the ReCollect team serves tens of millions of people in the U.S. and Canada, helping them to recycle more and properly dispose of solid waste.

On and off the clock, Naina works hard to be a force for good. In her spare time, she enjoys listening and dancing to early swing music, especially Ella Fitzgerald; spicy food; oil painting and nail art. 

In the future, Naina hopes to volunteer again for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as she did when she was in Nova Scotia, as well as organizations that educate communities about ways in which they can use less plastic.

6 Fast Facts About Naina:

  1. Likes: Good music, good food (especially if it’s spicy!), swing dancing, oil painting, and nail art.
  2. Dislikes: People who are rude.
  3. Dreams of: A world where people are kind to each other, where everyone remembers the power of believing in ourselves.
  4. Superpower: Associates random words with songs quite well.
  5. I believe people on Earth should: Plant more trees!
  6. Believes the world could do without: Negativity.
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